Sir Alex pays tribute to Dundee United legend McLean after his death

‘My biggest adversary in football was Jim McLean’: Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute to former Dundee United manager who shook up Scottish football after his death at the age of 83 and said the Tangerines legend was a bigger rival than Jose Mourinho

  • Jim McLean helped Dundee United to the only league title in their history in 1983
  • He also guided the Tangerines to two League Cup triumphs and a UEFA Cup final
  • Sir Alex Ferguson said McLean was an even bigger rival than Jose Mourinho

Sir Alex Ferguson described Jim McLean yesterday as a tougher opponent than Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger or anyone he faced in English football.

McLean, who has died at the age of 83, shook up Scottish football along with Ferguson in the 1980s as their Dundee United and Aberdeen sides broke the dominance of Celtic and Rangers. Both took their teams to European finals.

Dundee United won the League in 1983 under McLean, who also led them to two League Cup triumphs, six Scottish Cup finals, the European Cup semi-finals and a UEFA Cup final.

Jim McLean won a league title (pictured) and two League Cup titles with Dundee United

McLean also led the Tangerines to six Scottish Cup finals and a UEFA Cup final during his reign

Former Manchester United boss Ferguson said: ‘My adversaries in England were always Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez, Arsene Wenger. But, believe me, my biggest adversary in football was Jim McLean.’

United were not even the best team in Dundee when McLean took over in 1971, but he transformed the club during 22 years at the helm.

‘When you think back, it is almost absurd what he achieved,’ said Ferguson. ‘He took a club and changed it completely. He took players and made them better.

Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to a man who helped reshape Scotland’s footballing landscape

‘His legacy in football is that anyone who came across him knows he was a fantastic coach.

‘Yes, he could be prickly. But deep down he was a good man. He was always ready to help. I learned so much from him.’




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